My humble thoughts as one guy with opinions about life, love, religion, society, politics, parenting... yada, yada, yada.

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  • Has Fatherhood Become the New Mercedes-Benz?

    It used to be that a tailor-made suit and a Mercedes-Benz were context clues signaling a man’s ability to “provide” and consequently, those were things made a man "sexy". But could it be that for today’s professional women, fatherhood is the modern-day equivalent of a Benz? ...

  • What Does This Election Tell Us About What A "Real American" Is?

    “What on earth is he talking about?”... to put it simply..what does a Real American look like, sound like, act like, eat, wear and drive? Where do Real Americans live? What religion do they belong to? The questions are endless, but as we put answers to the questions will you fit the mold of a “Real American”?

  • “Rope-a-Dope” or Political “SHAKE and BAKE?

    Here’s the deal… President Obama was eaten alive in the 1st debate... BUT could this have been a good thing? Regardless of whether he was off his game or engaging in the most daring “rope-a-dope” in the history of politics, that awful debate performance sets the Obama campaign up for a little "shake and bake." Here’s why.

  • Look Ma! I'm On Web TV!

    Here's Mr. Mansitioning himself (me..lol) talking about Presidential politics and the election on the HuffPost Live... I always appreciate the invite and love the discussion!

Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

The campaign for President of the United States is often described as a horse race; a point reinforced by a tracking poll appropriately named "Gallup". So, in the spirit of using sport vernacular to describe this election, I couldn't help but notice that on the stage at "Ole Miss" was more than a republican versus a democrat, more than a conservative versus a liberal, more than veteran versus a newcomer... It was a wrestler versus a shooting guard; the difference between a suplex and a crossover, a DDT and a finger roll. the difference between Hulk Hogan and Michael Jordan... In a word, finesse.... Read more.
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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

What This Election Tells Us About What A "Real American" is Part III

Early in this campaign I became very concerned with, what I saw as an attempt to counter the enthusiasm of Sen. Obama's candidacy by playing identity politics. In some ways it was subtle and in some cases it was clear and overt. This really became an issue during the Pennsylvania democratic primary. Pundits pontificated about why Obama couldn't "close the deal" with "hard working Americans". Hard working Americans was code for small-town, blue collar whites and immediately begged the question of whether or not they believed that Blacks, Hispanics or Asians actually worked hard. Of course they'd say no, but it bothered me enough to start a dialogue with a post entitled What Does This Election Tell Us About What A "Real American" Is? Now, with eight days left until election day I find myself needing to address the way Muslim's have been disregarded and disparaged during the course of this campaign season, something only Gen. Colin Powell has done adequately to this point:



How could it take so long for such a declaration as Powell's to be made? Why did it take a Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Former Secretary of State to make the point that should have been made as far back as the Iowa Caucuses? Why were so many, so afraid of saying that being a Muslim in America is every bit as valued as being a Christian?...Well the answer, to me is simple. Muslims aren't "Real Americans" by conservative standards. Muslims are second class citizens, other... How else could we allow the undercurrent anti-Arab sentiment to exist unchallenged by those who most espouse a commitment to the cause of liberty and freedom? How else could the silence be deafening that a national conservative radio and television host could get away with asking the first Muslim American elected to congress to convince him that he's not a terrorist?



I'm a Christian... A devout Christian and it disgusts me that other Christians haven't come out to repudiate the exploitation of peoples ignorance and fear in a post 9/11 America. It upsets me that more Jewish leaders have not done the same. I'm angered when I think that the people sending out these mailers that suggest Barack Obama is a Muslim and that all Muslims are terrorist that should be feared, were sitting in the pews of churches across America, reading scripture and verse form the old and new testaments, taking communion and praying under the guise that they are good and honorable men, women and Christians. I think it bothers me most of all because we can't ever expect to build bridges to the Muslim world when they feel that we view them as less than, or deficient rather than different (guess where that came from); when we harbor sentiments like the woman at the McCain rally that said she can't trust Barack Obama because "he's an Arab".



You have to ask yourself, "what if this were Joe Lieberman running at the top of the ticket rather than Barack Obama?". I'm sure that we'd see some shenanigans but I'm sure that the outrage by public figures from the smallest local officials to the highest would quickly squelch any effort to disparage a politician of the Jewish faith or the faith itself. The same should be true for Muslims, but after September 11th, all things Arab became all things bad in this country. It wasn't by accident. In a culture that relishes in it's ignorance, where American Idol carries a more intense and loyal following than a presidential race, where it's necessary for comedians to tell us about world events because the news is too boring, it's easy to get people to rally behind simple ideas. Simply put, Muslims are the enemy. Yeah, yeah, we might preface it with prefixes like "not every" or "not all" like Glen Beck in that clip but the message is still the same and before you know it, we're in Iraq. Simple constructs of good and evil bode well with simple minded folks.

Muslim, Islam and Arab are not slurs and what we see happening today amounts to a modern day attempt at red scaring and it needs to end yesterday.

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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

Okay, so we all knew that the right-wing and the Karl Rove machine would use race to divide this country; the questions was "how?". You see, this is new territory for America; the presidential candidate of a major party being something other than a white man. It's also new territory for republicans that have a very fine line to walk as they seek to win the White House without doing irrevocable harm to their party. The dilemma for them is "how do we ignite and fan the flames of racism in America, without appearing racist?"...The tactic that we'll see play out as we near election day is a "guilt by association" strategy that has an inherent, although subliminal message of "they're all associated" and 'they all look alike, don't they?"... Read more and watch the McCain attack ad.
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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

But then there's a little matter of the election day itself. Many people are preparing not simply to vote or die (I hated that marketing ploy P.Didd.Puff.Pass.Sean.Pie,.. sorry), but they're also preparing for what can go wrong as republican operatives continue in their attempts to deny (likely democratic) citizens their constitutional right to vote. As election day looms closer and closer, I'm getting more and more emails and general "heads up" messages from friends and associates regarding various questionable, albeit legal, rules in place that people may not know about until they show up to the polling place. For example, electioneering (the process of actively campaigning for or supporting a candidate, political party or issue in/near polling places) is already established. But This article from the Philadelphia Inquirer (or click here for the shorter snopes investigation) talks about how republicans in Pennsylvania are using the practice of "passive electioneering" to prevent democrats from voting on election day -. Read more
(Article by DFin)
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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

We're all familiar with the concept of eminent domain, right? Well for those who are not it is a legal practice wherein the court can seize the property of private citizens and turn it over to another party that would use that property for "the public good". With that in mind, I can't help but to wish that we applied that very kind of legal action to children who live in the care of dangerously inept parents, who's actions only serve to destroy the child's future and burden society as a whole... The video in this post has extremely graphic language, which is amplified by the tender age of the two linguists in it.... Read more.
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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

A couple of weeks ago Cindy McCain said "I would suggest Sen. Obama change shoes with me for just one day..." My logical reaction to her comment was "Which pair? The $600 ones you wore at the RNC convention?" (sometimes I wish Obama would hit those out the park, because they pitched that one right over the plate). Anyway, the expense report for the McCain campaign was released yesterday and it showed that the GOP spent $150,000 on wardrobe expenses for Sarah Palin and her family and Cindy McCain's statement flashed, again in my mind. But then other questions popped up in my mind... Who's the real McCoy in this election? Who's really the one who's like most of us in this country? The answer to me is the one with the shoes nobody wants to walk in... I mean literally.

Now, although Sarah Palin's wardrobe expenses are the price of a 3 bedroom house in most parts of the country, that pales in comparison to the $300,000 outfit that Cindy McCain wore the night of her speech at the Republican convention. That ensemble actually is the mortgage on my 1.5 bedroom co-op in Brooklyn. The republicans and right-wing pundits are quick to say that this is a "sideshow" and a distraction from the "real issues", but I can't seem to remember them having the same opinion when we were talking about John Edwards haircuts, or the fact that Barack Obama eats "arugula" or bowls under a 50. I guess those are real issues.

During this election, the right-wing (and Hillary to be fair) has tried to paint Obama as a penny loafer wearing elitist. But it's John McCain who wears $500 Ferragamo loafers (which he probably wears because they have good quality souls that wont scratch up the oak and marble floors in his seven...I mean eight... I mean thirteen.... whole lot of houses). In fact, Obama had to respond to this claim that he's an elitist because he dresses nice:
I basically buy five of the same suit, and then I patch them up and wear them repeatedly. I have four pairs of shoes. Recently I've taken to getting a haircut more frequently than I used to because my mother in law makes fun of me. So I don't think people are too worried about what I'm wearing."
With this in mind, I can't understand how the elitists are the ones who wear the shoes with the holes at the bottom, just finished paying off student loans, and take the Amtrak back and forth from Delaware to DC. everyday, but the regular guys are the ones with seven or eight houses, wardrobes that cost enough to keep a few hundred families from getting foreclosed on this month, and an airplane that sits on the lake in their backyard (BTW: this last one is Sarah Palin).

So when Cindy McCain says, "I would suggest Sen. Obama change shoes with me for just one day...", lets just assume it's because she feels sorry for him...

Piper Palin with her Louis Vuitton bag.


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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

"Watch. We're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy"
The McCain campaign, the RNC, the right-wing talk radio personalities and pundits think they've struck gold with Sen. Biden's comments about Obama being tested with an international crisis within the first six months of his presidency. Likewise, we see a lot of people on the left pulling their hair out, aggravated by Biden's declaration. I say both of them are getting a little too caught up in the hyper-sensitivity of the homestretch of this election, but the republicans need to tread cautiously on this one... They may have struck fools gold!



I just want to take a moment to put Biden's comments in perspective; something that no one on the right or the left has done. First of all let's look at the historically relevance of his comments, after all the Senator said to mark his words as a student of history. We know that JFK was tested early in his presidency with the Cuban Missile Crisis, that Reagan had to deal with the Air Traffic Controllers Strike, that Clinton had to deal with the 1st World Trade Center bombing, and "W" (George Bush) had to suffer through the 2nd World Trade Center Attack on 9/11. So from an historical perspective Joe Biden was absolutely right.

Next we should take into account his expertise as Charmian of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He said that he could think of at least 4 scenarios that could arise, which would require a response. In his role on the Foreign Relations Committee, Biden is briefed daily on potential and emerging threats and situations developing around the world that could impact us. In other words, his statement was not only looking back on history, but it was also forward looking considering the way world events are shaping. The world hasn't stopped moving because America is in the midst of a Presidential campaign.

Lastly, and probably most importantly is Biden's statement that "... he's going to need help . . . to stand with him. Because it's not going to be apparent initially; it's not going to be apparent that we're right." John McCain seized upon this part of the statement saying:
"Forget apparent. Senator Obama won't have the right response, and we know that because we've seen the wrong response from him over and over during this campaign. He opposed the surge strategy that is bringing us victory in Iraq and will bring us victory in Afghanistan. He said he would sit down unconditionally with the world's worst dictators. When Russia invaded Georgia, Senator Obama said the invaded country should show restraint."
This is where the right wing and John McCain need to pump the breaks a little. What we the republicans, the media and we should be asking ourselves is, not why Joe Biden said what he said, but what has this election taught us about Barack Obama that might have lead to say it? What has Joe Biden learned about Barack Obama that would cause him make such a definitive assertion about hypothetical events that may or may not occur?

The answer (on so many levels) is that Barack Obama tends to be right (if not spot-on) about the positions he takes on issues, and while conventional wisdom leads many to call him "naive" or "reckless", it never seems to take long for history to prove him correct; That he tends to be the smartest guy in the room, if not the wisest; That we, in all of our "real American" wisdom and the media in their market share positioning and the right-wing in their sheepish support for all things conservative, don't understand as much as we'd like to think we or they do.

From the beginning of this election, whether you for him or against him, we've come to understand that Obama is resolute, patient and forward looking. He seems to think like a chess player, when the rest of the us play checkers; checkers being a game of maneuvering and chess a game of strategy. Let's look at a few examples.

His Campaign:
  • If we simply look at his campaign, we can see evidence of his thinking. Take for example his decision to stay clear of racial issues. If you recall SNL did a skit about him not being black enough. He began his campaign with less than 20% of support among blacks, with Hillary sucking up their remaining loyalties. He was criticized by virtually every black figure of prominence from Cornell West, to Eric Dyson, to Tavis Smiley, to Al Sharpton, to Jesse Jackson and even Russell Simmons for not using his campaign to draw attention to black issues... Conventional wisdom said that he wouldn't get very far without their support and that whites wouldn't vote for him... Then Iowa happened... Then South Carolina happened... Now we're here and each of those detractors are supporters of Barack Obama.
  • Even as the campaign continued, supporters of Obama expressed their frustrations about Obama not attacking Sen. Clinton, or John McCain for that matter. The media chided him for seeming too cool or "aloof" is the word they chose to use. But Obama's campaign knew from the beginning that the election was about "the math" and whoever gets the most electoral votes. Consequently, he campaigned in every state, even the ones the pundits said he would win and racked up a lot of small electoral states to cushion losses in the larger electoral areas of the map where candidates tended to focus. So while Sen. Clinton and Sen. McCain ran and run conventional campaigns that were tactical, Sen. Obama ran and continues to run an unconventional campaign that's strategic.
Foreign Policy:
  • Let's bar his opposition to he Iraq war, although he was absolutley right. Let's take his position on sitting down with Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and all the other "boogie monster" countries without preconditions. I believe that his colleagues including Senators Dodd, Clinton, McCain and Bidencalled this "reckless" and "niave". This doesn't require a long explination. The fact of the matter is that most experts agree with his position that the best (if not only) way for America to influence Iranian activity is to sit down at the table with them in good faith, with "carrots and sticks". Even more, former Secretary of State Henery Kissinger (a McCain advisior) backs direct talks "without conditions" with Iran. Now the McCain campaign will try to "shuck and jive" and say that Kissinger wasn't referring to the President meeting directly with Iran, but in a nutshell Obama's position seems to be the one that most experts agree upon and the Bush administration has shifted their position to follow suit.
  • Next lets look at Obama's position on cross border raids into Pakistan. Obama was called "reckless" again for stating that, as President if he recieved actionable intelligence that high level Al Queda targets are beyond the Afghan border, in Pakistan and the Pakistani goverernment is "unable or unwillng" to take them out, then he will. Now while John McCain criticizes Obama's stance, the Bush administration, again changed course and approved cross border raids in Pakistan, on one occaison using a predator drone to take out a high level Al Queda operative. To date, John McCain can't bring himself to say whether or not that he's willing to take out Al Queda officials in Pakistan if they cannot act, but Sarah Palin seems to take Obama's position. Here again, Obama is right although it wasn't "apparent initially", as Biden said in his statement.
Finally, the McCain campaign may want to slow down because it's perfectly plausible and reasonable that the Obama campaign could turn the tables and ask Americans to consider how he (John McCain) would fair under a similar test, given his "erratic" behavior with the economic crisis. Even more damaging to the McCain campaign they could ask us to consider that Sarah Palin might be the one who is tasked with responding to one of Biden's scenarios, with McCain being 72 years of age. That coupled with Colin Powell's concerns about McCains selection of her for the VP slot could be extremely damaging. If they wanted to drive that home, if they wanted to press the argument in terms of John McCain's temperment or his judgement in putting forth Sarah Palin as qualified to handle another 9/11, it would all but cripple the single area of the campaign where John McCain is seen as having a slight edge over Obama...national security.
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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 4 comments

Listen, the Rodney King beating ushered in a new era of activism. Since that terrible incident, citizens across the country have utilized their video cameras to document civil wrong-doings in the hopes that hard evidence will compel lady justice to do her job, when she would ordinarily choose to turn a blind eye to the abuses of those in power. Today, that effort is made immensely easier with the advancements in cell phone technology. If you see a situation occurring, you no longer have to run in your house, pull your camcorder from under the bed, charge a battery, screw on lens...etc. Now you can simply whip out a cell phone and capture evidence in real-time. So with that in mind, why do we have to be victims on election day?

It's simple. I'm calling on all citizens with cell phones to document their occurrences at the polls. Whether you're in a state where early voting is permitted or you're venturing to the polls on Nov. 4th, you have to whip out your Treo, I-phone or Sidekick and record. I read a story today that talks about how voting machines in West Virgina are already flipping votes from the democratic candidates to republican candidates during early voting. When the voter goes to complain about it, they are told that they are the ones that made the mistake. Ironically, no one voting for McCain has reported this problem.

This is a problem that's almost impossible to fix before Nov. 4th, but if enough of us are bringing it to light with evidence, then we might be able to stop them from doing what they did in 2000 and especially what they did in 2004 with the Diebold voting machines (click here for the story).
Therefore, were calling on all of us to be reporters. When you go to the polls take out your cell phones and record the following:
  • IF YOU'RE USING A TOUCH SCREEN MACHINE, RECORD YOUR FINGERS PRESSING THE BUTTON FOR YOUR CANDIDATE AND RECORD WHAT THE MACHINE REGISTERS... In other words, if you press the button for Obama and the machine registers McCain, make sure you have that on record...Also note which specific machine it was (if there's a number then record that). All the machines in a precinct don't have to be questionable, in order for a an election to be rigged.
  • Then make sure you complain to the people working the polls and record any conversations that you have with them.
  • If someone at the polling place is denying you or someone else the right to vote because they have on an Obama (or McCain) T- shirt.
  • If you go to the voting place and your name is not on the voter rolls. Make sure you ask the right questions and get clear answers about why your name is not on the rolls and what is the proper action to correct the mistake.
  • If the lines are ridiculously or unreasonably long.
  • If there are an unreasonably limited number of voting machines.
  • If the machines breakdown.
After you've done that, we urge you to upload your video to Video Your Vote, a partner shipe between Youtube and PBS. Include an introduction with your name, voting district and voting precinct and email us too. Our goal is to chronicle and compile these occurrences and provide you with the proper recourse to ensure that you don't become a passive victim or voter suppression.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Most states do allow you to video at your polling place, but some do not. No one can stop you from videoing what you do behind the curtain (so record what happens with the machine) but please be sure to ask about the rules in your voting district. Also, be respectful of others when you're recording. If someone request not to be on camera then do not film them (unless your rights are being violated).

Written by: LAW
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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

It was reported in The New York Times that Governor Sarah Palin offer to appear at an "anti-Iran" rally at the United Nations was rescinded by Malcolm I. Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and a leading promoter of the rally. According to the Times, Gov. Palin and other democrat and republican officials were disinvited after Jewish organizations and members of Congress protested that her appearance might turn the rally into a partisan political event.... This was truly a stroke of luck for all involved... Read more.
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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

The recent addition of Gov. Sarah Palin to the presidential campaign has suddenly reinvigorated the sexism debate that was bubbling during the democratic primary. Unfortunately, because Sarah Palin is a Republican, it makes it harder for anyone to compare these sexism charges against her to the racist overtones that haunt Sen. Obama's campaign, without making him look even more like a black candidate, "playing the race card". But, as we are an op-ed publication it is my duty to opine about the following question:

-Is sexism worse than racism in America?... Read more
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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 5 comments

I don't know if any of you remember the cartoon Thundercats (not to be confused with Laser Cats, the hilarious SNL skit), but if you do then you'll recall that the Thunder cats' arch enemy was Mumm-Ra, "The Everliving". Mumm-Ra was as powerful as he was evil and I'm sure that your remember that the only way to defeat Mumm-Ra was to show him his own reflection. "Yeah! Yeah! I remember that Law!... What's your point?"

Well, last night I was watching the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC and she pointed out a couple of examples of how the GOP is trying to play to the racial hatred that is ingrained in the fabric or foundations of this great country. Needless to say that what I saw was upsetting, but in the spirit of heeding the call to not "...just sit there!" I figured that the best way to not be a passive victim of this sort of despicable campaigning is to expose them and show the world (not that this blog has that kind of reach) what's going on... Yes, like Mumm-Ra I'm determined hold a mirror to the face of those who would employ such acts and those who would endorse them... So let's start with "Obama Bucks" the Obama food stamp, pictured below:



As you can see, there's not denying that this is racism at its best. And don't let them tell you that this was some fringe supporter, playing on a computer in his mother's basement... It's not. It's the work of the Chaffey Community Republican Women Federated, a republican woman's club in San Bernardino County, which included the image on their online newsletter... Newsletter, which means they've been sending this out to hundreds of people who, in turn send it out to hundreds more people. The club President, Diane Fedele offered a weak apology that didn't go far enough, so what do you suppose we do about this? We could huff and puff and complain to our friend... Or we could contact them and tell all of our friends to contact them via:

Gary Ovitt
San Bernardino County Supervisor, 4th District
chairman of the San Bernardino County Republican Party
Main Office
County Government Center
385 N. Arrowhead Ave., 5th Fl.
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0110
SupervisorOvitt@sbcounty.gov
(909) 387-4866


or mail them directly at:

Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated
P.O. Box 974
Upland, CA 91785
Diane Fedele (President)
Meets the 4th Wednesday of every month at 7pm
Magic Lamp Inn, Rancho Cucamonga


Now once you've sent an email to these people, you should follow up by sending this to all of your friends and tell them to contact their local news and cable news channels, as well as your favorite radio personalities. Lastly, we should take the time to contact the people that advertise in their print and online publications and let them know that were going to tell all of our friends to not buy their products or services as long as they advertise with this group, or at least until the group offers a national apology.... That's activism!

BUT WAIT...THERE'S MORE!!!!

Rachel Maddow also reported that the Republican Party of Virginia sent this out:
Now, if you know a thing or two about communication then you clearly understand that this is a (not so) subliminal message. Who's the guy in this picture? Is it Barack Obama or Osama Bin Laden?... That's the point. Anyone receiving this would raise that question, but the mere fact that it's been raised poisons the political discourse and influences those who may not be racist, but harbor a natural apprehension toward people who aren't like them. So what do you suppose we do about this? We could huff and puff and complain to our friend... Or we could contact them and tell all of our friends to contact them at:

Republican Party of Virginia
The Richard D. Obenshain Center
115 East Grace Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Phone: 804-780-0111
Fax: 804-343-1060

Chairman: The "Honorable" Jeff Frederick
Executive Director: Allison Coccia
Communications Director: Gerry Scimeca
Campaign Director: Tom Bunnell
Finance Director: David Brunckhorst
Grassroots Director: Matthew Kandrach
Deputy Grassroots Director: Richard Crouse
Chief Financial Officer: Frank Loehr
Operations/Media Manager: Christina McArthur
Office Manager: Cathy Bolden
Chairman's Scheduler: Kathy Royse
To email any staff person, use their first initial and last name @ rpv.org (for example: Jane Doe would be "jdoe@rpv.org").

Remember that these are the same people behind George "Macaca" Allen, and he lost his election. So I say you email all of them and tell your friends and family to email and call. Let them know that you don't appreciate their appeal to fear and racial division in this country and as a result your going to donate to the campaign of their rival and call everyone they know in Virginia and tell them to do the same.

Lastly, McCain was adamantly defending his supporters during the final debate. He and his campaign said that his supporters are hardworking Americans that are under attack by Obama and that the Obama campaign is exaggerating claims of racial epithets and derogatory statements by the people attending his rallies... Well, Al Jazera (of all Networks) attended a McCain Palin rally to cover some of the underlying sentiments of the attendees. See for yourself and send this out to as many people as you can...

We have to let everyone know what's going on and who's at the root of it. They say sunlight is the best disinfectant and but we also have to hold a mirror up so that those perpetrating these acts can see their own wicked reflections and in the words of the Michael Jackson say "I'm lookin' at the man in the mirror, I'm asking him to change his ways" and then come to the conclusion "it don't matter if you're black or white".


P.S... You can contact us if you want to join our email campaign or start your own... Please!

Note: It was originally reported that the Chaffey Community Republican Women Federated were affiliated with the online and print publication Red Country... This has been corrected. One of the members of club posted an invitation to an event on Red Country's website, and hence the confusion began...Our apologies to the staff at Red Country for propagating the confusion.
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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 3 comments

If you have a pulse or a single "cool bone" in your body, then you're probably one of the millions of people who shelled out money to see the Batman sequel, "The Dark Knight." Now if your "cool-bone" is balanced by an equally as powerful "geek bone," then you might be able to recall and recite specific scenes and pieces of dialogue from the movie. Now, for any of you "cool -bone," "geek-boned" people who happen to have a "political bone" then I invite you to follow my train of thought on this.

There's a scene in the film where Bruce Wayne and Alfred have a back and forth about how the Mob brought about the Joker's rise as Gotham's psychopathic criminal-genius. They even made a trailer from it:
Bruce Wayne: ...I knew the mob wouldn't go down without a fight, but this is different. They crossed the line.
Alfred Pennyworth:
You crossed the line first, sir. You squeezed them, you hammered them to the point of desperation. And in their desperation, they turned to a man they didn't fully understand.
Bruce Wayne: Criminals aren't complicated, Alfred. Just have to figure out what he's after.
Alfred Pennyworth:
With respect, sir, perhaps this is a man that *you* don't fully understand.
So what does Sarah Palin have in common with Heath Leger?... SARAH PALIN IS THE JOKER!... No, not a joke, but the Joker in the drama of this election. and it has nothing to do with the pit bull in makeup/"lipstick on a pig" rhetoric. It does have everything to do with how John McCain and the republican/evangelical alliance running his campaign came to a decision that she'd be his Vice-Presidential nominee. In fact, if we substituted a couple of the names and words in the dialogue, above my point should become a lot clearer.

Barack Obama: ...I knew the republicans wouldn't go down without a fight, but this is different. They crossed the line.
Joe Biden:
You crossed the line first,
Barack. You squeezed them, you hammered them to the point of desperation. And in their desperation, they turned to a woman they didn't fully understand.

Sarah Palin burst onto the political scene with little known about her by the public. The morning of McCain's VP announcement, I expected to see someone who appeared overwhelmed by the enormity of what has happening. I was right, but most of the media felt otherwise. They didn't seem to detect in her voice, the shakiness that I heard. They didn't seem to make the natural comparison of her poise to that of Hillary Clinton, like I did. Perhaps, it was because she was a woman; perhaps it was because they wanted to give her leeway for the jitters that characterize a rookie's first day in the "big leagues." Whatever the reason was, Sarah Palin was very well received with her introduction into the public spotlight.

Subsequently, the media was in a frenzy (doing their job) trying to figure out who this unknown governor of Alaska was, that would make her the best republican vice-presidential choice over people like Tom Ridge, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty or even other women candidates like Olympia Snowe, Elizabeth Dole or Kay Bailey Hutchison. They began to pick and prod for any leads, even the most ridiculous. As the stories began to trickle in, the questions about her seemed to outpace the answers. "Is her baby really her's or her daughter's?... Is her daughter really pregnant?... Does she believe in dinosaurs?" The questions were endless.

But when she took the stage at the Republican National Convention and delivered her stinging acceptance speech with flawless precision, the right-wing and the republican party saw all they needed to know about her... She was a hockey-mom, a 'pit-bull in lipstick', a moose hunter and woman who's compassion ran so deep that she actually decided to give birth to a child with Down Syndrome, rather than assert her constitutional right to privacy as guaranteed under the 14th amendment after Roe v. Wade (as if all children born with Down Syndrome are born to right-wing, evangelical, republicans)...Flash forward to the Charlie Gibson interview.
Happy: So why do they call him "The Joker"?
Dopey: I heard he wears make-up.
Happy: Make-up?
Dopey: Yeah, to scare people. You know, war paint.
I'm sure that Charlie flew out to Alaska with every intention of conducting a tough and thorough interview that was aimed at cluing the American people in on her record and depth of knowledge about the types of issues facing this country. I'm sure he, like most of us expected to sit across from the same confident and aggressive women we had seen on stage at the RNC or at least some resemblance to her, after all, that was really the only thing we really had to go by. But as we watched part 1 and part 2 of the interview, the self proclaimed pit-bull in lipstick looked more like a dazed pekingese. The make-up had faded and the war paint probably did more to fuel Charlie than intimidate him. No need to rehash the gory details, but for those who haven't seen it click here.

Then there was the infamous CBS interview. Katie Couric met with Palin in New York City, where the Governor was on her international tour of the United Nations. The idea was to communicate to the people that Palin could build meaningful relationships with world leaders and shore up her foreign policy experience by, essentially speed dating foreign diplomats and dignitaries. This ordinarily would have made her knowledge of foreign policy the topic de jour, but the Wall Street bailout had emerged as a crisis that couldn't be avoided. Now, perhaps it was that she was so crammed with foreign policy talking points that she couldn't fit anymore about the economy, but the result was a crash and burn interview. It not only loaded the late night comics with enough amo for a comedy armegadeon, but it also legitimized questions about her preparedness for the job.

Of course, the right wing sycophants and acolytes engaged in their usual 'water carrying' as they chastised Charlie Gibson for attacking her with "gotcha questions" such as "Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?" and 'how does Alaska's proximity to Russia qualify as foreign policy experience?' (here's a funny article about that). Of course, we all know that these are relevant and important questions, so their that Gibson and Couric engaged in "gotcha journalism" was of little consequence to the media, the public and the late night comics who saw the interviews as speaking for themselves. This video sums it up about right.

Now, after her what many have regarded as pretty good debate performance against Sen. Biden, the question of who Sarah Palin is still looms. But like Heath Ledger's personification of The Joker, the answer to that question might prove scarier than we thought... even scarier than McCain thought.

Okay, let's pull this whole "Dark Knight" theme together. In the movie, this group of criminals thought that they found a capable psychopath that would play his role. Unable to look beyond his makeup and funny voice inflections, they figured he'd do their bidding and fade away. They described him as:
Salvatore Maroni: Some two-bit whack-job. Wears a cheap purple suit and make-up. He's not the problem. He's a nobody.

They were mistaken and before they knew it, the Joker had grown in stature and they themselves had come to fear him, for fear of their own lives. The Joker's plan all along was to take over as the crime boss of Gotham.
The Joker: This town deserves a better class of criminal... and I'm gonna give it to them. Tell your men they work for me now. This is my city.
The Chechen: They won't work for a freak...
The Joker: [mocking his accent] A freak...
The Joker: Why don't we cut you up into little pieces and feed you to your pooches? Hmm? And then we'll see how loyal a hungry dog really is. It's not about money... it's about sending a message. Everything burns!
If you saw the movie, then you know nothing could have been farther from the truth.... Let's change a couple of words in the scene to make it clearer.
Sarah Palin: This town deserves a better class of Republicans... and I'm gonna give it to them. Tell your campaign staff they work for me now. This is my party.
John McCain:
They won't work for a redneck...
Sarah Palin: [mocking his accent] A redneck...
Sarah Palin: Why don't we cut you up into little pieces and feed you to the republican base? Hmm? And then we'll see how loyal a hungry dog really is.
Remember the McCain campaigns response to those abysmal interviews? They responded by sequestering her so that they could study and learn about who she really was and how qualified she was or isn't. In addition they flew in a team of foreign policy advisers, a number of whom were former Bush aides to indoctrinate her with the neoconservative vision of the world. That plan, however came to an end when the media began to demand that the McCain campaign allow access to Palin, a cause that was championed by CNN's Campbell Brown. McCain gave in and arranged for Palin's second interview on CBS. But somethings different now.

In the words of Hillary Clinton, she's 'found her voice' and it's become increasingly clear that it's loud enough to drown out Sen. McCain's. Just like the Joker, she's taken over, or is at least in the process of doing so. The pundits all agree that her performance at the debate did little to help the McCain campaign, but a lot to establish Sarah Palin as force in politics for the unforeseeable future. The republican base (the hungry dogs) are behind her, not John McCain. The republican establishment, the evangelicals and the neo-cons are behind her, not John McCain. In fact, on one occasion she slipped up and put herself a the top of the ticket, saying "in a Paln/McCain administration". In fact, there is currently a group of neoconservatives that are working on her 2012 presidential bid.

A few good examples of her asserting her independence from McCain are the fact that she communicated that she wants the campaign to remain in Michigan after McCain decided to pull out. Also, little noise was made of the fact that she agreed with Sen. Obama's position on crossing the border into Pakistan to pursue terrorist. Those who reported on in call it a gaffe, but I call it and example of 'a drunk (wo)man's mind speaking a sober (wo)man's thoughts'. We know that she's been assigned the role of attack dog, but In recent interviews and appearances she seems to more like a pit-bull that can't be controlled by its master. For example, John McCain expressed on a number of occasions that Rev. Jeremiah Wright would be off the table, but she's serving it up as an appetizer. In addition, she's taken the lead in trying to create a narrative of Obama that seems to want to give the impression that he is, at least a terrorist sympathizer, if not an aider and abettor of terrorist himself.

McCain takes is known for taking political risks, but none that could come at the expense of his honor and dignity. His style is tough and confrontational, but not tawdry. Her methods, however border on reckless. In fact, all the pundits say and the McCain camp will admit that this strategy is a gamble... just like the mob betting on The Joker was a gamble. But once again, McCain has been hammered "... to the point of desperation". Perhaps, the realization that this is his last shot at the White House has pressured him into a deal with the "devil in the blue dress". Perhaps, the subtext of their relationship can be summarized by the scene in The Dark Knight with the two ferries, where the prisoners on one ferry had to choose between blowing the citizens on the other, in order to save their own lives.
Tattooed Prisoner: You don't want to die, but you don't know how to take a life. Give it to me; these men would kill you, and take it anyway. Give it to me. You can tell 'em I took it by force. Give it to me, and I'll do what you shoulda did ten minutes ago.
Perhaps, Sarah said to John McCain:
Sarah Palin: You don't want to loose, but you don't know how to run a dishonorable campaign Give the campaign to me; the republican party would disregard you, and take it anyway. Give it to me. You can tell 'em I took it by force. Give it to me, and I'll do what you shoulda did a month ago.
And so it appears he has done just that, given his campaign to someone who's more like George Bush in lip stick, than a pit bull. Someone who has the same "down home" way of talking, (they even share an inability to pronounce the word "nuclear"), but hunts like Dick Cheney and wants to assert more power as Vice President than has. Someone who on the surface appears to be aloof on substance, but grand narrative of the world is anything but. In fact, in many ways we don't know who the real Sarah Palin is or what she's capable of or what her intentions for this country are.... No, really! Do we get a sense of a vision and direction for this country from her?
The Joker: [speaking to Two-Face] Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just do things. The mob has plans, the cops have plans, Gordon's got plans. You know, they're schemers. Schemers trying to control their worlds. I'm not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are.
It's uncanny to me; the similarities:
Sarah Palin: [speaking to McCain] Do I really look like a gal with a plan? You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just do things. The democrats have plans, the "elite media" has plans, Obama's got plans. You know, they're "Washington insiders". "Washington insiders" trying to control their worlds. I'm not a "Washington insider". I try to show the "Washington insiders" how pathetic their attempts to control things really are.
But in the end, John McCain's judgement is the issue, not Sarah Palin. Therefore, in the words of Two-Face:
Two-Face: The Joker's just a mad dog. I want whoever let him off the leash.
Article by LAW
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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 3 comments

In these times of billion dollar bailouts for the haves, and increased belt tightening for the have-nots, most of us have had to make some tough decisions about what to cut out of our budgets. Before the failure of mortgage backed securities became the lead story on the national news, many of us were trading vacations for day trips, SUV's for economies, and anything else that we could think of to offset the doubling and sometimes tripling of gas prices, seen before Katrina. Some however, have also cut church out from the budget, and with what seems to be good reason.

Somewhere a single mother sits down on a pay Friday and sets aside money for the rent, the utilities, the car note, day care, groceries, and gas, only to notice she has less than $50 left for anything else. Two days later, on the way to church, the sole of her son's $20 Payless shoe comes off in a puddle. She makes a quick stop at Payless to pick up another $20 pair of shoes before heading to church. With less than $30 in her purse to get her through to the next pay day, she sits down to listen to the sermon. The scripture reading that morning was from the book of James, but the sermons always end up in Malachi 3:8-12. "Will a man rob God?" the preacher's voice booms over the loudspeakers. As is the weekly custom, the church then has a "Get right with God" offering where a person who has given less than 10% can give the remainder of their tithe, while others are encouraged to give more. As usual, the basket sits at the front of the church for those with triple digit donations, while plates are passed for the rest of the congregation. Our single mother does the math in her head realizing that the $30 in her purse is all she has, yet it makes up less than 10% of her check. Guilted, she stuffs the money in an envelope, seals it, and quietly prays that there will be no more plates passed.

After service, Deacon Jones confronts her about her offering. "Sister", he says, "I've noticed that for the last month your giving has not reflected what we have on record from your W2." "I'm sorry Deacon" she starts, feeling sour and uneasy about the conversation, "I've had some unexpected expenses, and to make a long story short, what I put in the plate today was all the cash to my name." "Well sister when you've given all your cash", the deacon begins, "there is a small section on the back of your offering envelope where you can put your credit card information."

Is that really how it's supposed to be? Malachi 3:8-12 is very straight forward with no exceptions or loopholes. Will a man rob God? Most wouldn't, but what if you can't afford the burden? The truth is that tithing isn't your burden to bear. I know, clutch the pearls. It's blasphemy and many pastors would not want you to read another word.....yet you're still reading.

To understand the tithe we have to start with the commandment. It is in Leviticus 27 where God commands the tithe for himself. In the book of Numbers he declares ALL the tithes to be his gift to the Levites for their service to the Lord. Now the question is, "What is a Levite?" The Levites were the men who took care of, and served at the tabernacle/temple. They were the clergy of that time with one distinct difference. Levites were chosen based on their bloodline. They were the descendants of Jacob's son Levi, but more recently the descendants of Moses and his brother Aaron. God had a very strict laws regarding the holy things as a disobedient few learned throughout the Old Testament. It makes even more sense when you look at what tithes were. It was not 10 % of the Jew's income, but 10% of their produce from the land. Because of their daily responsibilities inside the tabernacle, the Levites did not have as much time as everyone else to grow crops and tend to livestock. The Lord recognized that in times of feast and celebration, the Levites wouldn't be able to provide what the other tribes could.

God had a reason for mandating the tithe. Aside from a reason, God also had a system. The Levites did not collect 10% every year; year after year. Every seventh year there would be a time of rest known as the Sabbath year. The tithe wasn't just a measurement, but an entire system of giving. Remembering that the tithe was not money or income based but based on produce, the Sabbath year was an entire year devoted to rest and allowing the land to heal. The purpose of work in the Sabbath year was to feed the mouths of those who lived in your house. The sabbath year doesn't translate to today because we tithe income and not production. Because tithes weren't collected in the sabbath year, and because it doesn't translate into our current system of tithing, the sabbath year and the seventh sabbath year, known as the year of jubilee have been written out of many church's doctrines. The result is that many church's hound you for your 10%, but never mention the 14% (one out of seven) grace period.

So we've established the fact that the tithe wasn't based on income, but on the land. We've covered the fact that it wasn't meant to be for God's bank account, but it was his gift to the Levites and only the Levites. We have laid down that God's system of tithing was not a continuous stream of 10%, but his system included a year of rest in the midst of every seven. What I'm trying to show you is that the system of tithing practiced in most churches is only BASED ON God's system of tithing and not God's actual system of tithing.

You may say, "Well today's circumstances don't allow a church to go a whole year without collecting from the people. The church has too many fiscal responsibilities. Moreover, the clergy is basically the same as the Levites anyway." To the first point I would only counter that by asking why that reasoning works for the church, but not the people. As for the second question, it actually leads me into why the the tithe is not meant for today's Christian. We will start at the top.

Today's Christians worship the same God that Israel worshipped in the Old Testament. The next step down was the High Priest. In the old testament the High Priest was a descendant of Aaron who continuously gave an animal sacrifice for atonement of sins. Here is where we see, as Beyonce would call it,"the upgrade". The High Priest of Christians is Jesus who laid down himself as the perfect sacrifice, ONCE that through it all may be forgiven. Not only was Jesus the last high priest ordained to reign forever, but Jesus wasn't a descendant of Aaron. Jesus wasn't a Levite. The bible calls him a high priest forever in the line of Melchizedek. If you're up on your bible history, this is the part where you point out that Abraham, the father of the Jews, gave 10% to Melchizedek. This is true, however Melchizedek received 10% after blessing Abraham. Abraham did not give Melchizedek 10% to be blessed. And the bible is plain in saying that when Melchizedek blessed Abraham it was the better blessing the lesser.

So even though we have the same God, the bible clearly states that the New High Priest, which is Jesus, required a new covenant. Now most of you will throw out the fact that Jesus said, "till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one title will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled." Yes Jesus said that, but look at what he says before hand. In the previous verse he says, "I came to fulfill." Jesus walked the earth and eventually died to pay the debt mandated by the law. It is what Jesus referred to when he uttered, "It is finished" on the cross. Moreover, Paul gives us an illustration from marriage in the book of Romans about the transition into a new covenant.

Through Jesus death we no longer have the burden of the law. Acts 15 is very clear in pointing that out. In a council meeting of the leaders of the church, some Jewish Christians opine that Gentile Christians should be made to follow the laws of Moses. Peter responds to the suggestion by calling the Law a yoke that the Jews and their forefather's couldn't bear. Then, to clarify the situation, the council sent a letter to the Gentile converts to reassure them that it was not their obligation to keep the law.

Now we see that the tithe we give today doesn't fulfill the purpose God set for it when he declared it be for the Levites. We see that it's not the system God designed when he provided the people with a Sabbath year and a year of Jubilee for rest, and not a constant stream of 10% of income. We also see that we are under a new covenant which means that we do not bear a curse for not being compliant with the old covenant. So where do we go from here? If we aren't mandated in the new covenant to give 10% then how much should we give? Should we give at all? Should we bring this up at the next "Get right with God" offering?

I don't suggest becoming a distraction in your church. I encourage you to share these points with your church elders , but to understand that there is a time and place for everything. Pray for wisdom and direction in these matters. If you continue to feel led to give 10% or more then I beg you to follow those convictions.

My intent isn't to get people to give less to church. The bible says that he who sows generously will reap generously. Moreover, it commands Christians who are well to do to give generously in order to store up treasures in Heaven. It's important to understand that the treasures are in Heaven because many people preach that giving money on earth means getting money on earth. That's not always true. It's very important for us to give, and to give generously. Giving generously doesn't mean generously giving all the change in the bottom of your purse.

Like any other area in your life, I encourage you to pray and discuss your finances with God, and ask him for guidance when it comes to giving. Be honest about what you give, which is the moral of the account of Ananias and Sapphira. Be faithful in giving what you are led to give understanding three things:
  1. It's not scriptural to give more than you can afford.
  2. You are not obligated to 10%. With that in mind, remember that guilt arising from not being up on your tithes is not a reason to stop going to church.
  3. Be sure to give generously and cheerfully for the Lord loves a cheerful giver.

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)

For more information on the truth about tithing read here.

Article by: Stu
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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

I came across this excellent op-ed piece in last week's NYTimes - "Blizzard of Lies" - where Paul Krugman pointed out what I've been saying sitting on my couch eating low fat cheez-its (trust me, this is my wife's doing... it's full-fat snacks when I put my foot down when she's not here) and watching the sound bites and clips for the day. "Anti-ear mark" this and "Obama handing out playboy magazines in kindergarten" that and "the bridge to no where that overlooks Russia this"... wow, there's a lot going on that I didn't know about! Let's grab the ole' laptop here and

* ticka ticka ticka tap! click...clicka-click *

Huh. Fascinating. Ear marks are okay to be requested but it's the bad bad congress that approves them. Teaching kindergartners about sex versus teaching them to be on the look out for sex predators. And this bridge... she had a t-shirt that said what now?....Read more.
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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

So I'm sitting her listening to Bill O'Riley as he rambles on about how the "real losers" of the third and final presidential debate was us, the American public. Now call me a conspiracy theorist, but I'm convinced that this is apart of his secret strategy. I think his goal was to get his listeners who might have begun to lean toward Obama after his superior performance. I think that Bill's intention was to try to blunt the impact of all of the polls- I mean every single solitary legitimate poll taken about the debate- that had Obama winning by handy margins. If Bill could convince his listeners that, regardless of the fact that they saw Obama out shine McCain, both candidates failed, then maybe they'll disregard the Obama's win as a fluke.

You see, Bill-O (as he's refereed to by Keith Olberman) claims that he's and independent, that he's not a right-wing conservative, but rather a "traditionalist" "culture warrior" doing battle against the growing wave of "secular progressives" taking over this country... If it sounds deep, don't worry... It's not. What O'Riley describes as a "traditionalist" is actually a conservative and, of course that makes the "secular progressives" liberals. Only the truly daft believe that he's struck intellectual gold with "culture war" mumbo-jumbo. The point is, he's a conservative in independent's clothing.

God bless him; he tries so hard to look "fair and balanced", a motto borrowed from his employer. The problem is that he's not. If you listen to his AM talk show, "The Radio Factor" you can tell. His listeners tend to be Fox viewers. They usually agree with his every sentiment, except for the times when his positions move from far-right to center-right. A guy like O'Riley is dangerous because, if you're a political novice, then you might actually buy into his claim to be an independent and therefore accept his positions as rational, reasonable and untainted by partisanship. Lou Dobbs is another one who's good at this. They criticize politicians in general, as a means of qualifying their independent claims and then they start cutting up democrats and liberals with sarcastic insults or loaded words. After they're finished gutting the democrat/liberal they sew up the wound with statements like 'neither of these two parties..." or 'neither of these two candidates'.

So what's my point? My point is that we have to expand our idea of political action in today's environment of AM talk radio, web blogs and political personalities posing as journalist of integrity. On the trains in NYC they have posters that read "If you see something, say something" to urge New Yorkers to act to prevent or deter wrong doing in the subways. Likewise, I'm urging you to do the same. In fact, I called into Michael Baisden's radio show yesterday and made the same point. Many of your read blogs (obviously) and listen to talk radio. Many of you watch news shows like Hannity and Colmes and Lou Dobbs, not because you agree with them, but because you don't and you want to hear what sort of bull $#!t flies out their mouths. So when you do hear something that makes you mad, will you sit there huffing and puffing like a victim or will you take action? I say take action! For the sake of those innocent, ignorant people that might believe these guys!

If you happen to be listening to Sean Hannity or Bill O'Riley or Rush Limbaugh or anyone of their clones, and you hear something that strikes you to the core of you being as WRONG then don't just huff and puff; don't just imagine giving them a piece of your mind... CALL IN AND SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT! If you don't have the time to sit on the phone, then go to their chat rooms and dispel the vile venomous lies with truth and links like factcheck.org and crooksandliars.com. The web has become the great equalizer in combatting the rigth-wing dominance over the AM airwaves, so if you find any video on Youtube that reinforces you points then post that too, and send it around to all your friends! Then, when you've built up enough moxie, travel to the right-wing blogs and do the same... In fact, do more! Why not organize 10 or 20 of your friends to go on and post refuting arguments to all of their crap! FIGHT THE POWER! "ATTICA! ATTICA!"... But I digress.






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